After Antisemitic Attacks, Cuomo Orders Police to Secure Jewish Institutions in New York

With tensions high after the latest fighting in Gaza, state troopers will provide security at Jewish facilities across New York City as well as in nearby Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Nassau and Suffolk counties

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking to reporters in Brentwood, New York, last month.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking to reporters in Brentwood, New York, last month.Credit: POOL/ REUTERS
Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol

Following a series of high-profile antisemitic incidents last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday he’s directing the state police to reinforce security at Jewish institutions in the New York City area.

In a statement, Cuomo condemned the anti-Jewish violence that has flared up in the wake of Israel’s fighting with Hamas and Islamic Jihad this month. He described it as “antithetical to the promise and purpose of New York State,” adding that the state would not tolerate such violence “in any form.”

Cuomo said state troopers would “provide security at Jewish religious, educational, and community facilities” across New York City as well as in nearby Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Nassau and Suffolk counties. New York’s Jewish population is the largest in the United States.

The Anti-Defamation League thanked Cuomo for “taking the recent spate of incidents against the Jewish Community so seriously” while decrying the necessity of such a move.

On Sunday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio met with Jewish leaders in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park; he then tweeted to condemn “unconscionable” antisemitic attacks as “an attack on our entire city.”

The meeting came after an incident Saturday evening in which three men drove down a street in the heavily ultra-Orthodox neighborhood screaming antisemitic obscenities. After getting out of their car and running after several Jewish men, the suspects tried to enter a synagogue, banging repeatedly on the locked doors, The New York Post reported.

According to reports, the perpetrators were heard yelling “free Palestine, kill all the Jews!”

“People are literally afraid to walk the streets,” the paper quoted State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, a member of the Orthodox community, as saying.

After the incident, the NYPD said that it would increase its presence in Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhoods.

A girl in New York protesting against antisemitism last October. Credit: Kathy Willens / AP

Last Thursday saw several antisemitic attacks during protests linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In one, 29-year-old Joseph Borgen was beaten by people shouting antisemitic statements in the middle of the street as he lay on the ground. According to local media, people in the group shouted expletives about Jews and Israel.

Two suspects, identified as Waseem Awawdeh and Faisal Elezzi, were arrested in connection with the attack.

That afternoon, a Jewish teenager was hospitalized with a mild concussion and a jaw injury after pro-Palestinian demonstrators pushed him against a barricade and punched him in the head and arm.

In the Diamond District, a heavily Jewish business district in midtown Manhattan, someone was burned when two fireworks were thrown from a car amid an altercation involving pro-Palestinian demonstrators, one of whom was filmed screaming “f-ing Zionist.”

In another incident, two Israeli men got into a fistfight with pro-Palestinian protesters outside the Upper East Side restaurant Ess-a-bagel. One of the men was arrested but was released shortly afterward.

Antisemitic violence has been on the rise worldwide since the fighting with Gaza broke out this month, with incidents recorded in the United States, Britain and Germany.

On Monday, President Joe Biden condemned the violence, tweeting that “the recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop.”

Last week, the ADL released preliminary data from its Center on Extremism revealing what it called “an increase in online and real-world incidents of antisemitism in the United States since the most recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas.”

The group said it tracked over 17,000 tweets using variations of the phrase “Hitler was right” between May 7 and May 14 and “received more reports of possible antisemitic incidents since the conflict broke out in Israel, with 193 reports in the week after the crisis began, up from 131 the previous week.”

In a report released in April, the ADL said that while antisemitic incidents in 2020 declined by 4 percent from an all-time high the previous year, they “remained at a historically high level” across the United States.

JTA contributed to this report.

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